Answers to today's legal questions through blogs and articles

Employment Law

Employment law covers the rights and duties between employers and workers. These posts deal with protections afforded to workers under the law governing areas such as discrimination, harassment, unsafe work conditions and more.
https://commonlegalquestions.com/2018/07/02/what-you-need-to-know-about-employment-law/
https://commonlegalquestions.com/2018/08/10/women-fighting-for-equal-rights/

What is The Equal Pay Act of 1963?

Equal pay for equal work … it’s a concept that has long been disputed in American employment law. Did you know that it wasn’t started by women advocating for equal pay, but by unions fighting for equal wages for men? When soldiers went off to fight World War II and women worked their jobs to keep the U.S. economy functioning, the National War Labor Board urged employers to pay women the same wages as their male counterparts. Because, however, most companies did not heed this advice, men returning from war worried that their jobs would be permanently taken by the cheaper women’s labor force. In response, unions stepped in to try to stop employers from undercutting men’s wages. The concept of equal pay grew out of these circumstances, and has since been equated to lower wages paid to women. What ensued after a decades-long fight was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed into the nation’s employment laws by President John F. Kennedy.

Employee Protection Laws in the United States

The EEOC or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was developed and created through the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  However, it has a mission that has been shaped by numerous pieces of legislation. It may have seemed to start simple enough but over the years many laws and amendments have continued to expand the role, responsibilities and authority of the EEOC. There are many pieces of legislation that make up the employment protection laws of the United States.

What is the EEOC?

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the EEOC is a federal agency which has the responsibility of enforcing federal laws which prohibit discrimination of any kind in the workplace. Employment laws are in place which make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on the individual’s color, race, gender, state of pregnancy, religion, age (40 years old and above), national origin, genetic information or disability. Retaliation against a person who complains about or reports discrimination, files a discrimination claim, or participates in an investigation about employment discrimination is also prohibited. Most employers who have a minimum of 15 employees must abide by EEOC laws. In age discrimination cases the company has to have at least 20 employees. Most employment agencies and labor unions are covered by EEOC laws as well. Discrimination laws are applicable to all kinds of work situations such as hiring and firing, harassment, wages, benefits, training and promotions.

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act or ADEA is a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on an individual’s age. There are also state specific laws which make it illegal to discriminate against workers based on age. Employees who are 40 years old or older are protected from age discrimination under the ADEA. In 1990 the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) was added as an amendment to protect older employees from being denied benefits by employers.

patient on treadmill working with physical therapist

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their disabilities. This is similar to other employment laws which protect the civil rights of individuals on the basis of race, religion, gender, or national origin. The ADA is meant to provide equal opportunities for individuals who have disabilities in the workplace, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications and state and government services.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment which is a form of sexual discrimination. It is prohibited by law to harass an applicant or an employee based on their gender. Harassment can include a wide variety of actions such as unwelcome sexual advances, asking for a sexual favor, and many other verbal, non-verbal or physical actions that are of a sexual nature. However, even offensive remarks that are made about a person’s gender or sexuality can be considered sexual harassment. It is prohibited to make offensive remarks about women in general or men in general. Victims may be either male or female and victims do not have to be of the opposite sex. As a general rule, the law does not deal with incidents where there is simple teasing, silly comments or isolated incidents that do not escalate. However, when harassment becomes severe and creates a hostile work environment or an offensive work environment then the law is there to protect workers. A harasser can be a co-worker, an employer, supervisor, or even a person who is not employed by the company like a customer.

What is The False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is also called the “Lincoln Law” and is a federal law of America that imposes liability to federal contractors who defraud programs set up by the government. There is a provision that allows for those who are not affiliated with the government to also file actions for the government. Those that file can receive about fifteen to twenty?five percent of any of the recovered damages. Claims have typically been in health care, military, and other government spending programs. The government recovered almost $22 billion between 1987 and 2008 through the False Claims Act.

Laws that Protect Whistleblowers

When pursuing a whistleblower case the first step is to carefully check all th laws ans statutes that may apply to your given situation. An example is that although the Whistleblower Protection Act is well?known and has been extensively talked about it only actually covers a small part of the working population. When trying a case and not a federal employee, the case gets covered under different rules of protection altogether. An employment lawyer can work with you to set up some specific laws that pertain to your case if you are going to seek legal recourse.

The History of the Whistleblower Protection Act

Media finds whistleblowers as a popular subject and has for a long time. The Enron scandal is remembered by most Americans. Many debate whether the intelligence workers like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning might qualify as “whistleblowers”. Most are aware of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 as well that gets formed into the backbone of the whistleblower protection in theUnited States. The history of the concept of a whistleblower dates further back and includes an interesting history that gives the modern law there context.

What is the Whistleblower Protection Act?

The Whistleblower Protection Act, or WPA, gives protection from retaliation or persecution to government employees that disclose to the police illegal and improper conduct that goes on in the workplace. The law is to protect any federal employees who uncover some wrongdoing and report it to authorities. Under the WPA, the government agency accused is not allowed to end the employment or “bully” a worker of government contractors, science based agencies like NASA, or national security personnel.